If you have read my baseball blog over the past few years, one thing to note is when I write about players, I write about all players with similar enthusiasm. The way I see it – sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, boys and girls play baseball. I have coached boys and girls in Tee Ball, the Minors, even at the Majors level in youth baseball. I have been a fan in the stands when a girl took the mound and struck out an entire team of boys. Sure, baseball is a predominantly male sport after youth baseball. The vast majority of players on a middle school, high school team are males. And the overwhelming majority of players on the collegiate and amateur level are males. One huge factor I have learned that greatly contributes to baseball being a male dominated sport is opportunity.
Recently, I interviewed an All-Star player from Coventry Little League (The RIBBE Meets The Lapham Family of Coventry Baseball). In my interview with the Laphams, Leah’s Mom mentioned to me that Leah (roughly age 12) is making the switch from baseball to fast pitch softball. In short and to paraphrase my conversation, there are more collegiate opportunities for an All-Star girls baseball player in fast pitch softball than there are in baseball. Her family’s decision was not an easy one nor a popular one, but the fact remains that a player of Leah’s ability can garner a ton of attention from college softball coaches, leading to some very positive academic opportunities for Leah and the Lapham family.
Justine Siegal never let the lack of opportunity get in her baseball way. Justine was baseball player herself. Then, as a PhD candidate at Springfield College, an assistant coach on the SC Baseball team. She would go on to coach the Brockton Rox, formerly a professional baseball organization, now part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Justin didn’t stop her baseball coaching journey in Brockton. She went on to coach, mentor, and even throw batting practice for six Major League baseball organizations. Her jersey is in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. Quite a career as a baseball coach and mentor!!! And it is far from over. Let me say this again – Justine Siegal never let the lack of opportunity get in her baseball way.
Justine Siegal , PhD, Baseball Player, Baseball Coach, Trailblazer, Mentor – founded Baseball for All in 2010 “to provide opportunities for girls to play, coach, and lead in baseball. Baseball For All is the first national girls’ baseball organization,” according to their official website, http://www.baseballforall.com. The website outlines the history of girls and women’s baseball dating back to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and showcases the many leagues and organizations that have supported women in baseball over the past century. Our very own Pawtucket Slaterettes, according to Baseball For All, has been in existence since 1973 and is now the oldest girls baseball league in the United States. The timeline includes accomplishments by trailblazers like Justine Siegal and others that broke gender barriers to play in Little League and collegiate levels. It highlight’s Justine’s coaching career with local girls baseball teams and in the professional baseball ranks. The website also details the players and programs available for girls baseball players all over the United States and abroad. It is a fantastically positive baseball website with tons of video, photos, and inspiring stories about girls and women’s baseball.
Recently, I posted an article about registration for the 2021 Spring season here in Rhode Island. Local youth baseball leagues from Jamestown to Pawtucket to Tiverton or West Warwick are gearing up for thousands of Rhode Island baseball players to hit the field, run the bases, catch a fly ball, and hit a home run. When I posted the article, Justine reached out to me via social media with this note “if any girl wants to play at Baseball For All Nationals at Ripken, send them my way!” So, if you and your family read up on Baseball For All and want to get involved with Justine’s organization, perhaps play at Ripken Experience this July in the Baseball For All Nationals, here is your opportunity. And if you do happen to go to BFA Nationals, please get in contact with me so I can share your experience with all of Rhode Island baseball. Good luck to all the players, coaches, and families participating in the Baseball For All program.
This July 18-22, The Cal Ripken Experience Facility will be the host of the 6th Annual Baseball For All Nationals. Here is more about the Baseball For All Nationals (to read more, just click on the highlighted links below) :
You’re invited to compete at the 6th annual BFA Nationals, the largest girls baseball tournament in United States history. Since 2015, we’ve welcomed girls from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, and South Korea to compete in this one-of-a-kind tournament—a unique opportunity for girls in baseball to be surrounded by hundreds of others who love the game just as much as they do.
In 2021, we’ll be joining forces with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and The Ripken Experience, and are proud to provide our players both with state of the facilities and experiences are unique to the BFA Nationals, including:
- 5 game guarantee
- Exclusive player swag
- Opening Ceremonies
- Meet and greets with former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League players
- Over 70% female representation in umpiring crew
- Even more exciting events to be announced
Baseball For All – www.baseballforall.com